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Red Sox vs. Astros: Closing out the first half

Who needs a break?

Jim Rogash

The Red Sox will try to close the first half of the season with a series win over the Astros Sunday afternoon.

Today's Lineups

BOSTON RED SOX HOUSTON ASTROS
Brock Holt - RF Jose Altuve - 2B
Dustin Pedroia - 2B Jason Castro - C
David Ortiz - DH George Springer - DH
Mike Napoli - 1B Chris Carter - LF
Daniel Nava - LF J. Singleton - 1B
Jackie Bradley - CF Matt Dominguez - 3B
Xander Bogaerts - 3B Robbie Grossman - RF
Stephen Drew - SS E. Hernandez - CF
C. Vazquez - C Marwin Gonzalez - SS
Clay Buchholz - RHP Jarred Cosart - RHP

It hasn't been a first half to write home about, to say the least, but unlike 2012, we've at least got something to look forward to in the second half, particularly if the Red Sox can get around to unloading some of the players who won't be around in 2015. I don't really need to hammer home the idea of watching the kids play anymore, or really sell many of you readers on the idea either. Particularly after these last few games.

But let's go for it all the same. Just look at today's lineup, for instance. We've got the legendary Brock Holt who continues to prove he can hit at the major league level with an .803 OPS in July, including a few pretty big hits. Jackie Bradley Jr. doesn't have Holt's season-long track record, but has started to look a lot more comfortable at the plate since he switched up his stance. You can probably track this resurgence back as far as June 19th, since which he's hit .311/.354/.377. But the more time you lop off that, the better it looks. How does .393/.433/.464 in July suit you?

There are fewer positives to talk about with Xander Bogaerts, though he has put together a couple of multi-hit games recently, and of course for all that Christian Vazquez' OPS is astronomical, the sample size is microscopic. But given their age and defensive chops respectively, neither one needs to be a world-beater either today or tomorrow.

First pitch is at 2:10 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.